City begins update to comprehensive plan

Published 6:49 pm Thursday, May 5, 2022

Suffolk has started a more than yearlong process to update its comprehensive plan, which received its last update seven years ago. 

The 20-year plan, according to city planner Alexis Baker, is designed to be a long-range guide for a number of areas, including land use, housing, transportation, parks and open spaces, public safety, schools and economic development, and the city is asking for citizens’ input. 

“We request participation from community members, because you know your city and community the best,” Baker said. “Your input is essential to our work and will help shape the plan.”


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The city says now is “an ideal moment” for a comprehensive plan review given its growth and change taking place. A website set up for the comprehensive plan update said a new plan is needed “to reflect current trends and priorities while being focused on the future.”

While the plan is not legally binding, it can serve as a foundation for decisions on such things as budgeting, zoning ordinances and land development regulations.

Representatives of the steering committee come from every city borough and a cross-section of organizations. They include: 

  • Donald Goldberg, chairman — city council
  • Anita Hicks, vice chairwoman — planning commission
  • Melissa Venable — Chuckatuck Borough
  • William Goodman — Cypress Borough
  • Richard Ward — Nansemond Borough
  • Mills Staylor — Holy Neck Borough
  • Linda Johnson — Sleepy Hole Borough
  • Russell Young — Suffolk Borough
  • Felton Milteer III — Whaleyville Borough
  • Wesley King — Economic Development Authority
  • Kay Miller — Suffolk division, Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce
  • William Bissell — Historic Landmarks Commission
  • Tammy Jackson — Suffolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority
  • Dr. Okema Branch — Suffolk Public Schools
  • Pavithra Parthasarathi —- Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization
  • Chris Lowie — Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge
  • John Wass — Nansemond River Preservation Alliance
  • Michael W. Griffin — Suffolk Agricultural Committee
  • John Napolitano — Coastal Virginia Building Industry Association
  • John Rector — Hampton Roads Realtors Association
  • Ken Rodman — Hampton Roads Association of Commercial Real Estate
  • Paul Retel — Western Tidewater Water Authority

The steering committee met March 22 and discussed traffic, neighborhood connectivity, housing and education.  

“A key focus was how the city can develop a long-term plan that will maintain Suffolk’s quality of life while allowing for growth,” Baker said. 

By the middle of this month, the city will host a series of topical focus groups, and citizens will have the chance to share preliminary ideas through online activities to be launched May 16 on the project’s website,

More in-person activities are planned for the summer and early fall. The planning process will wrap up by early summer 2023. 

“Everyone who cares about the future of Suffolk is invited to share their vision,” said Anita Hicks vice chairwoman of the steering committee and a planning commission member. “We’re hoping that the process helps us think about what we have in common and connects people across the city.”

Want to know more? 

More information can be found at or by contacting Alexis Baker at the City’s Planning & Community Development Department at 757-514-4068 or Engagement activities will also be available in the city’s libraries and at City Hall

Comprehensive Plan for 2026 (Adopted April 5, 2006)

Comprehensive Plan for 2035 (Adopted April 1, 2015)